Charlotte did a beautiful post on our trip to Portland together. You can find it here. It is such a completing and wonderfully written post, that I hesitated to add anything to it. So I’ll just add a little.
Charlotte and I met online when we were both pregnant and living on boats. There was an immediate mutual admiration and connection because of this lifestyle choice. We communicated often through social media, through an online forum that Eric and Charlotte started. And we blogged and got peaks into each other’s lives. Charlotte’s generousity and her openness appealed to me immensely.
The first time we physically met was in Mexico when I was invited to attend her birth. Who says no to an offer like that? Our families spent a month together, living as neighbours as we waited for Charlotte to go into labour, and then as we were able to be there for the first two weeks of Lyra’s life.
After Mexico, we weren’t sure when we would see each other again. Then tragically, we met up in Texas to attend Kitty’s funeral.
Meeting to first attend a birth and then attend a funeral, it seemed we had covered the heavier aspects of life. Now it was time to have fun. And fun was had!
I took the train from Vancouver to Portland. I had never travelled by train in North America. It will certainly not be my last time. It was such a sophisticated way to travel. I mean, they didn’t start serving alcohol until 7am but that can be forgiven. The seats were spacious, the cost was low. The food on Amtraks is terrible. I can drink some pretty bad coffee but I could not stomach this stuff. So, I highly recommend the train. But bring your own snacks and coffee!
The scenery is amazing. The passengers are fascinating. There are plug outlets so that if you don’t get lucky enough to sit next to anyone, you can use your laptop.
And then, there is Portland itself.
Portland has this really cool vibe to it. Where everyone is wearing a cool, funky, retro or completely bizarre t-shirt. We saw many examples of these shirts in stores.
I loved the fun quirky stores, the thrifting, the micro-brewery beers on tap, the knit shops, the book store. But the people were the best.
Portland was the kind of place that is just waiting for the flash mob to happen and then everyone in the city would join in.
For example, Charlotte and I had been preparing to see each other by challenging each other to do 100 push ups a day. The first afternoon we arrived, we did push ups on the side walk before we went out. The next time we did push ups, our beautiful host Jessica joined us. The next time, two of her neighbours joined in. By the last day we were there, there were 12 people on the side walk doing push ups together. (Including a couple people that just happened to be walking by.) The people of Portland seem to be up for anything and they are willing to make time for weird and random happenings. This attitude of openness was so fun!
In our wanderings, Charlotte and I came across a store that sold beekeeping paraphernalia and mead. They were primarily selling equipment for Kenyan top bar hives, which I hadn’t seen very often. But they had the regular Langstroth hives too. Also, there was lots of tasty mead.
Thank you to the beautiful Jessica for hosting us. Your place is beautiful and was completely ideal for us. Thank you to all the wonderful people we met by chance and happen-stance, by their sense of humour, by letting us try to guess and then never succeeding in guessing their names.
And a hugest warmest Thank you to my sweet friend Charlotte. I’m so grateful for you in my life. Your sense of adventure in living on a boat, then inviting me to Mexico, (Heck! Birthing in Mexico takes guts!) sailing across the ocean and being up for pretty much anything! This is just one of the qualities I love about you, friend. Here’s to the next city we take by storm.
And thank you to our wonderful husbands for watching the kids, encouraging our adventures and friendship.
Thanks Portland, for keeping it weird.